Built-in Shoes Storage

This post is about a piece of furniture that solved a conflicting priority problem. Shoes-off home is great because it contains any dirt tracked in to the entrance area. But what do you do with the shoes? In my experience this practice resulted in shoes cluttering the entrance area after a just a few days.  Despite the neat shoe organizers in the bedroom closet the entrance area becomes cluttered with various footwear -- running shoes, sandals, dress shoes, boots, and flip-flops.  I like the convenience of having the shoes by the door but the visual clutter is annoying. How can we have both the convenience  and a tidy look? Shoe cupboard or getabako in Japanese is the simple solution.

In a Japanese house the getabako is located in the entrance area to store several pairs of shoes. Once the sliding door is closed the visual clutter goes away. Since Arts and Crafts style is influenced by Japanese aesthetics having a getabako in the entrance area was the simple solution our problem.

This is a short excerpt from the Midori Haus book:

The problem was the ideal location was already spoken for. Kurt’s large speakers were to be placed “just so” in the four corners of the living room for the audiophile in the house. This left no room for the getabako near the front door. What shall we do? Attempting to logically convince the other of the merits of one’s pet feature until the other caves had the wrong energy. We had to think outside the box. Literally outside the box. Into the wall.

The solution evolved to become a piece of built-in furniture that recessed into the wall and protruded into the dining room. This made sense for us because the wall space was open during the remodel, and it was easy for the cabinet maker to create a custom shoe cupboard using the same type of wood as our kitchen cabinets. The front is flush with the wall so it doesn’t conflict with the speaker space, and the back looks like a simple decorative stand. It turned out to be about the same price or cheaper than buying a nice piece of Craftsman furniture. Later this large floor speaker standing next to the recessed shoe box became a visual reminder of our ability to creativity solve a couple’s conflicting priority problem.

Front:  Shoes Storage Shelves in Living Room

Back:  Decorative Stand in Dining Room

About the Author

Chie Kawahara

Chie is one of the co-creator of Midori Haus. When she is not sharing her stories of transforming an old house and giving tours, she enjoys trail running and hiking.

  • Thank you nice sharing

  • Colin Smith says:

    Nice solution! I like how the cabinet works in the dining room as a stand. I could easily imagine it also having a shallow cupboard for large platters or trays. Or even becoming a larger piece with plate and glass storage above.

    • midorihaus says:

      Yes! I like your vision of expanding on the built in furniture Colin. Thanks!

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